December 17, 2003 - by

Seminoles Play Host To Wagner Thursday At 7 p.m.

Dec. 17, 2003

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State plays host to Wagner in the second round of the University of Pittsburgh Holiday Hoops Classic looking for the first 9-0 start in school history. The Seminoles enter Thursday night’s game with an 8-0 record for only the third time in school history and with a victory over the Seahawks will enter unchartered waters in the illustrious history of the 58-year old program. Florida State is 1-0 in the Holiday Hoops Classic with a victory over Georgetown (Ky.) College Nov. 24 in Tallahassee and travels to Pittsburgh to play Chicago State (Dec. 20) and Pittsburgh (Dec. 22) in Pittsburgh before breaking for the holiday season. The Seminoles return to the court soon after Christmas Day as they play host to Maryland (Dec. 28, 5:30 p.m.) in their first conference game of the year. Florida State enters Thursday’s game fresh from its victory over Miami, 67-58, Sunday in Coral Gables, Fla. It was the first of 13 regular season road games for the Seminoles.


PICKETT HELPS LEAD FLORIDA STATE PAST MIAMI
Senior All-America candidate Tim Pickett scored 12 second half pints and had four second half steals to lead Florida State past Miami, 67-58, Sunday in Coral Gables, Fla. Pickett scored four points in the final three minutes to help Florida State gain its eighth victory of the season. Defensively, Pickett had three steals in the final six minutes of the game as Florida State held the Hurricanes scoreless over the final 6:59 of the game. Pickett enters Thursday night’s game against Wagner ranked first on the team and eighth in the ACC in scoring (15.6 ppg), first on the team and second in the ACC in steals (2.7 spg), first on the team and first in the ACC in 3-point field goals made per game (3.12 3fgm/g) and tenth in the ACC in field goal shooting percentage (.473).


SEMINOLES AGAINST THE BIG EAST, THE SEC AND THE BIG TEN
With victories over Northwestern of the Big Ten (71-53, Dec. 1), Ole Miss of the Southeastern Conference (66-60, Dec. 3) and Miami of the Big East Conference (67-58, Dec. 14), Florida State is the only team in the nation to defeat a team from each of those three major conferences so far this season.


LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Improve to 9-0 with a victory over Wagner Thursday night. It would mark the best start to a season in school history. The Seminoles enter the game with an 8-0 record to tie the school record, which previously came during the 1977-78, and 1988-89 seasons;
…Win its second game in the University of Pittsburgh Holiday Hoops Classic. The Seminoles defeated Georgetown (Ky.) College Nov. 24, 81-67, in Tallahassee. Florida State travels to Pittsburgh to play Chicago State (Dec. 20) and Pittsburgh (Dec. 22) to finish out its four games in the event;
…Win its ninth consecutive game – its longest streak since the 1979-80 season when it won nine in a row from Feb. 2, 1979 through Feb. 20, 1979. The Seminoles finished with a 22-9 record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament;
…Defeat its second opponent of the season from the Northeast Conference. The Seminoles defeated Fairleigh Dickinson, 83-46, Dec. 6 in Tallahassee.


SEMINOLES IN THE NATIONAL POLLS
Florida State earned votes in both national polls for the second consecutive week and is ranked 32nd in the writers’ poll (Associated Press) and 31st in the coaches’ poll (ESPN/USA Today). It marks the second consecutive week the Seminoles received votes in both polls and the third straight week they have received votes in the AP poll. The last time the Seminoles were ranked in the AP poll was Jan. 18, 1998 when they placed 20th on their way to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. A total of five ACC teams (Duke, No. 4; North Carolina, No. 5; Georgia Tech, No. 6; Wake Forest, No. 14 and Maryland, No. 25 are ranked in the top 25 of this week’s AP poll. Florida State is scheduled to play seven teams currently ranked in the AP top 25 and six teams currently ranked in the ESPN/USA Today top 25.


SHUTTING DOWN OPPONENTS EARLY IN GAMES
Florida State has scored first in each of its eight games and been able to build its lead while keeping its opponent from scoring any points. Only three of Florida State’s eight opponents have scored their first point of the game in less than one minute and it took Georgetown more than eight minutes before they scored their first point.


Pitching A Shutout On Defense
Opponent Defensive Shutout Lead When Oppt. Scored Halftime Score Final Score

Maine 0:47 Maine, 3-2 FSU, 36-28 FSU, 69-49
Georgetown 8:24 FSU, 12-3 FSU, 40-22 FSU, 81-67
Nicholls State 1:55 FSU, 5-1 FSU, 44-24 FSU, 99-54
SC State 2:22 FSU, 6-3 FSU, 37-23 FSU, 81-46
Northwestern 3:11 FSU, 5-2 NW, 31-26 FSU, 71-53
Ole Miss 0:47 FSU, 3-2 FSU, 34-20 FSU, 66-60
FDU 0:46 FDU, 3-2 FSU, 43-23 FSU, 83-46
Miami 3:32 FSU, 5-2 Miami, 35-31 FSU, 67-58


FLORIDA STATE HAS…
…Won the rebounding battle in seven straight games and in seven of its eight games this season. The Seminoles were outrebounded by Maine (38-37, -1) in their season opening victory;
…Won six of its eight games by double figures and enjoys a +23 point margin of victory. The Seminoles largest margin of victory was 45 points (99-54 vs. Nicholls State) and its smallest was six (66-60 vs. Ole Miss);
…Shot 50 percent or above from the field in four of its eight games this season and enters Thursday’s game against Wagner shooting .501 from the field for the season. Comparatively, the Seminoles shot 50 percent or better from the field only five times in 29 games during the 20020-03 season;
…Recovered from two halftime deficits to gain victories. The Seminoles trailed Northwestern (31-26) and Miami (35-31) at halftime and rallied to win both games. Florida State rallied to win four times in 29 games last season when trailing at intermission;
…Made 111 free throws while its opponents have attempted 115 through the first eight games of the season. The Seminoles have made more free throws than their opponents have attempted in four of eight games including three straight entering Thursday night’s game against Wagner.


FLORIDA STATE ON THE OFENSIVE
Florida State enters Thursday’s game against Wagner averaging 77.1 points per game and shooting .501 from the field. Led by senior All-America candidate Tim Pickett’s team leading 15.6 points and senior point guard Nate Johnson’s 4.6 assists per game averages, Florida State has outscored its first eight by an average of 23.0 points per game. The Seminoles are averaging nine points per game more this season and shooting better and making more shots from the field (and from beyond the 3-point arc) this season as compared to last season.


Florida State Running Their Offense
Season PPG FG% FGM/G 3FG% 3FGM/G

2003-04 77.1 .501 27.4 .410 8.5
2002-03 68.1 .432 24.8 .333 6.4
Improvement +9.0 +.069 +2.6 +.077 +2.1


STEALING IS LEGAL UNDER HAMILTON
Led by senior All-America candidate Tim Pickett’s 2.6 steals per game average, Florida State enters Thursday night’s game against Wagner averaging 10.0 steals per game. The Seminoles recorded a season-high 18 steals in their victory over South Carolina State Nov. 28 and swiped 12 more in their victory over Fairleigh Dickinson Dec. 6. Florida State ranked second in the ACC with a 9.4 steals per game average during head coach Leonard Hamilton’s first season in Tallahassee.


SEMINOLES FORCING TURNOVERS
Florida State enters Thursday night’s game against Wagner forcing an average of 18.9 turnovers per game. The Seminoles have forced their opponents into 151 turnovers through their first eight games of the season. The school record for turnovers forced is 21.1 during the 1974-75 season when the Seminoles finished with an 18-8 record.


PROBABLE STARTERS FOR FLORIDA STATE…
F #1 Michael Joiner (5.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg; Needs 222 points to reach 1,000 for his career)
F #54 Anthony Richardson (13.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg; Career-high 27 points on 10 FGM vs. NW)
C #33 Mike Mathews (2.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg; Has started all eight games at center this season)
G #10 Nate Johnson (2.9 ppg, 4.6 apg; Leads the ACC in A:TO ratio – 4.6:1)
G #22 Tim Pickett (15.6 ppg, 2.6 spg; Leads ACC in 3FGM – 3.12 per game)
AND TOP RESERVES…
G #4 Todd Galloway (5.3 ppg, 3.4 apg; Ranked fourth in ACC in A:TO ratio – 2.5:1
F #12 Al Thornton (5.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg; 12 points in 18 minutes against SC State)
G #20 Andrew Wilson (3.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg; Has played in 7 games this season – 6 in last 2 years)
G #23 Von Wafer (7.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg; ACC Rookie of the Week, Dec. 1)
F #32 Alexander Johnson (8.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg; Seminoles third leading scorer as a reserve)
F #51 Adam Waleskowski (5.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg; 10.0 ppg average in last two games)


FLORIDA STATE VS. WAGNER —  A SERIES HISTORY
The Series: First Meeting
Last Game: First Meeting
Last Florida State Win: First Meeting
Last Wagner Win: First Meeting
Last Florida State Win In Tallahassee: First Meeting
Last Wagner Win In Tallahassee: First Meeting
Florida State vs. Wagner, Current Streak: First Meeting
Leonard Hamilton vs. Wagner: First Meeting


THE PITTSBURGH HOLIDAY HOOPS CLASSIC
Florida State plays its second of four games in the inaugural University of Pittsburgh Holiday Hoops Classic as it plays host to Wagner Thursday night. The event features six schools – Florida State, Pittsburgh, Chicago State, Georgetown College, Murray State and Wagner – in a round robin format. The Seminoles play four games in the exempt tournament that, according to NCAA scheduling rules, count as only one game against their regular season limit of 27. The four games in the event allow the Seminoles to play a school-record 30 games during the regular season.


HOLIDAY HOOPS CLASSIC TO USE EXPERIMENTAL RULES
Because the Pittsburgh Holiday Hoops Classic is an exempt tournament according to the NCAA, Thursday night’s game against Wagner will be played using experimental rules. The experimental rules being utilized in this tournament (as well as all exempt tournaments this season) are the extended 3-point line and the trapezoid lane. The 3-point line is extended from 19’9″ to 20’6″ and the trapezoid lane starts with its normal 12-foot width at the free throw line and extends out to a graduated 19’8″ width at the baseline.


FLORIDA STATE’S IN-SEASON TOURNAMENT HISTORY
Florida State has an illustrious history in in-season tournaments with 10 championships dating to the 1962 season. The Seminoles’ most recent tournament championship came in 1986 at the Red Lobster Classic during which they defeated Alcorn State and Tennessee to win the championship. Most recently, the Seminoles participated in the 2002 Fiesta Bowl Classic Honoring Bobbi Olsen, the 2000 Great Alaska Shootout and the 1998 Rainbow Classic.


Seminoles’ Tournament Championships
Date Tournament Date Tournament

1962 Savannah Invitational 1973 Big Sun Classic
1968 Florida Sunshine Classic 1977 Big Sun Classic
1971 Florida Sunshine Classic 1977 Birmingham Classic
1971 Far West Classic 1980 Cotton States Classic
1972 Senior Bowl Classic 1986 Red Lobster Classic


PICKETT IS FLORIDA STATE’S CHIEF THIEF
Senior All-America candidate Tim Pickett enters Thursday’s game against Wagner with 21 steals and a 2.6 steals per game average. He had four steals in Florida State’s victory over Miami and has four steals in four of Florida State’s eight games this season. Pickett surpassed the 100 career steals plateau with his first theft against Miami and is now one of only 18 players in school history with 100 or more career steals. He is ranked 18th in school history (George McCloud is ranked 17th with 104 steals) in career steals and averages a school record 2.8 steals per game during his 37-game Seminole career.


PICKETT FROM THE 3-POINT LINE
Senior All-America candidate Tim Pickett has made at least one 3-point shot in 13 consecutive games and has made 109 career 3-point field goals. He enters Thursday’s game against Wagner ranked 10th in school history with 109 3-point field goals made (Ron Hale is ranked ninth with 111 career 3-point shots made). Pickett leads the ACC with his 25 3-point field goals made and has made eight more than his closest competitor – Marvin Lewis of Georgia Tech who has made 17 in eight games this season.


RICHARDSON WINS GAME FROM FREE THROW LINE
Junior All-ACC candidate Anthony Richardson scored what proved to be the game winning point against Miami on a free throw with 3:06 remaining in Florida State’s victory over Miami Dec. 14. It marked the second time during his career that he made a free throw to put the Seminoles ahead for good. Richardson made two free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining against Clemson Jan. 21, 2003 to give the Seminoles a 60-59 victory over the Tigers. Richardson made five free throws (all consecutive) in the final 3:06 to help the Seminole win their eighth game of the season against the Hurricanes.


RICHARDSON FROM THE 3-POINT LINE
Junior All-ACC candidate Anthony Richardson enters Thursday’s game against Wagner shooting a career-high .576 from the 3-point line. He has made 10 of 19 shots from the bonusphere including two in Florida State’s victory over Miami. Richardson made a career-high four 3-point field goals in Florida State’s victory over Northwestern in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and averages 1.3 made 3-point field goals per game.


Richardson Finding His Way From Long Range
Season 3FGM 3FGA Pct. Notes

2003-04 (1 year) 10 19 .526 Averages 1.3 made 3FG/G
2002-03 (2 years) 35 118 .297 Averaged 0.6 made 3FG/G
Improvement +.229


JOHNSON LEADS SEMINOLES IN FOUR CATEGORIES
Freshman Alexander Johnson enters Thursday night’s game against Wagner as the Seminoles leader in field goal shooting percentage (.750), free throws made (23), and free throws attempted (37) and is ranked third in scoring with an 8.9 points per game average. He is averaging 11.0 points per game in the last three games and pulled down his career-high of six rebounds in Florida State victory over Miami. Against Miami, Johnson was one of three Seminoles who scored at least seven points in the second half of Florida State’s victory over Miami. Johnson (seven), Anthony Richardson (seven) and Tim Pickett combined to outscore Miami, 26-23, and help the Seminoles to the come-from-behind victory.


MATHEWS ASSISTING AND BLOCKING
Senior center Mike Mathews was credited with a career-high two assists and recorded two blocked shots in Florida State’s victory over Miami. He has three assists in the last two games and has totaled four on the season. His single-season career-high is six assists during 2002-03 season. Mathews’ two blocked shots marked the second time this season and 27th time during his 95-game career he had recorded multiple blocked shots. He enters Thursday’s game against Wagner ranked sixth in school history with 106 career blocked shots. Randell Jackson (1996-98) is ranked fifth in school history with 113 career blocked shots.


WALESKOWSKI CONTRIBUTING TO VICTORIES
Junior forward Adam Waleskowski is averaging 10.0 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting .571 from the field (eight-of-14) and 1.000 from the free throw line (three-of-three) in the last two games. He scored a near career-high 11 points in Florida State’s victory over Fairleigh Dickinson and added nine in its win over Miami. Waleskowski pulled down six rebounds in both games. He enters Thursday’s game against Wagner shooting a career-high .500 from the field after entering the season with a career field goal percentage of .369.


JOINER FINDING THE BASKET
Senior forward Michael Joiner enters Thursday’s game against Wagner with a career-high .531 field goal shooting percentage. He is one of five Seminole regulars shooting .500 percent or better from the field and is shooting more than 11 percentage points above his career mark through the first eight games of the season. Joiner, who is shooting .636 from the field in the last three games (seven-of-11), entered the season shooting .416 from the field during his first three years.

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